For all the guilty, not-good-enough mommies

mommies holding baby

The other day while working from home, I left my son to his own devices – i.e. watching a bit of TV, playing on his iPad, and playing outside on his jungle gym. And then I was consumed with guilt and worry – shouldn’t I be spending more time with him? Is too much independent play or TV bad for him, am I a bad mom for “dumping” him,  am I not enough of a helicopter and too much parachute? And did I dish out too much sugar at his birthday party, or not enough? What if kids didn’t like their party gifts, and what if they had an awful time?

This post probably finds you feeling guilty or inadequate over something. Right? And chances are you’re the one laying it upon yourself, right? For who are our worst enemies but ourselves? I can take every single cyber bully and mom who doesn’t like me, pit them all together, and I’ll still win beating myself up.

Perhaps guilt and inadequacy are a given – much like wind, poo nappies and tantrums. We set high standards, and get insecure when other moms parent differently as we look within and wonder if we’re doing it all wrong. And since no one is praising us, we REALLY beat ourselves up.

What if we try to think differently?

What if we were kinder to ourselves and spent more time acknowledging the things we do, than the things we don’t?

What if, instead of lamenting the time we spend at work rather than with our kids, we think of the work that goes into them, and in the quality moments we do spend with them.

What if, instead of beating ourselves up over not hypnobirthing, breastfeeding or co-sleeping, consider that we gave or initiated life, and we continue to give life, smiles and nappy changes.

Moms, we’ve lost sleep. we’ve lost sanity, and many of us have lost our waistlines. We’ve gained guilt, more anxiety, and more pressure. Don’t we deserve to be kinder on ourselves, and high five ourselves rather than berate? If our children have their needs met and are happy, does it matter what others say, including our own “critical mom” voice.

Look after yourselves

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Tanya Kovarsky

Tanya Kovarsky

Tanya Kovarsky, mom to Max, addicted to blogging, Apple products, long-distance running and Converse shoes. Freelance writer, with 11yrs experience who does editing, writing and training. Read her blog

6 Responses

  1. Yes Yes, and we don't want our beating up of ourselves to be passed on to our children – so they also beat themselves up… Let it stop with us (or anyway I am trying…)

  2. Yes, being kinder to yourself is great and necessary, but perhaps there is something in all that guilt and anxiety that is worthy of scrutiny. I believe in balance and when people, especially parents in their roles as parents say things like I want to do better for my child or he deserves more, the only thing that comes to my mind is that inherent in these kinds of statements is hierarchy, competition and imbalance. For your child to have a better mother or to have more opportunities means there must be a standard and even more than this that there must be a worse mother, a child who doesn't/can't have those same opportunities/privileges. I think if we dig deep enough this is often the source of anxiety and guilt in parenting. When we stop equating or mistaking difference for being better/more and competing and start to consciously think about how to share and care for more than ourselves and our immediate families and friends then perhaps guilt would have no place in our lives?

  3. I have the exact same anxieties. But my dad said the best thing: "You don't have to be your child's toy. Just by being there, you're giving her all the security and independence she needs. She can play and explore, knowing mom's there, and when she needs you, she knows where to find you." Thanks for that wisdom, dad, really helps some days! And thanks Tanya, nice to know I'm not the only one worrying about helicoptering vs free range too much.

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